Note: This article is intended to be an online journal. To make it easier for the readers who are following it, I will place the most recent entries near the top. To start from the beginning and view the original article please click here.
Day 4: I need a time-out!!
Have you ever found yourself munching on a handful of nuts, just because you walked by the bowl? Ever visit the vending machine or the pantry instead of tackling an unwanted project? Sometimes eating is ‘reactive’. You may be responding to uncomfortable feelings and not even be aware of it. Or sometimes, as with the nuts, it’s a mindless habit. As a result, we may wind up eating more than we need or even really want.
My goal today is to expand upon being present and mindful by practicing patience. So here is an exercise for you (and me). When I want to eat I am going to ask myself 2 questions. “Am I biologically hungry?” If so then I will keep my body fed and eat. If not, I will take a time-out. I will set a timer, between 5-15 minutes. I will use this time to try to think about what I may actually be feeling. If you are able, this is a great opportunity for some meditation or self-reflection. After the time elapses, if I still want to eat what I had my sights set on, I will.
What’s in it for me?
I tend to be an impulsive eater. I want stop and think about what I am doing before putting food in my mouth. If I am not physically hungry, then what is really going on? What do I really need at this moment? The time-out gives me an opportunity to answer these questions. Eating for emotional reasons will NOT solve my problems. Thinking about what is bothering me is the first step to figure out how to handle it. If it’s simply mindless eating, the time-out may distract me enough to forget all about my craving! Ah, patience… it’s a good thing.
Day 3: So what happens when things don’t go the way you think they ‘should’?
My focus last week was to pay more attention to my food. For me, this also translates into eating generally because I am ‘stomach hungry’ and not to satisfy emotional needs. Great! But there were times this weekend that I found myself on ‘autopilot eating’ somewhere in that state of consciousness where I knew I was putting food in my mouth but I wasn’t fully connected to the experience. I ate as a form of procrastination, because I was tired, bored, and as a sense of entitlement. What a disaster!!!
Actually, thankfully, I tend to think in the contrary. While eating for reasons other than true stomach hunger did not coincide with my goal, I was able to become aware of my actions. I noticed, remembered and took full responsibility for these choices. While it’s true, I may have been better off napping than nibbling, or taking a walk to ease my sense of boredom, there are worse ways I could be combating these issues. Sounds like an excuse to you? Well to me these are all opportunities to learn. Life is full of these but first we have be able to notice them. My journey to becoming an intuitive eater is not one where I seek perfection, it is one where I look to find my progress.
What’s in it for me?
We all have choices. My goal was to be mindful. In one sense I ‘failed’ because I made choices that conflicted with my goals. I could have chosen to beat myself up over my decision to eat. If I had done that I would have been so consumed with my ‘failure’ I would have never been able to realize what was really going on. Because I was trying to be mindful, I was able to stop and ask myself the question “what is it that you really need right now?”. I doing so I could learn from my behavior. In years past I never would have tried to notice what I was feeling. If I can’t tune into the fact that I’m bored or procrastinating, how can I address the real issues? Food is not the answer.
I have learned that self-acceptance is an important part to personal growth. If we can’t accept our ‘mistakes’ and learn from them our only choice is perfection. And that, for me, does not exist.
Day 2: Can you name at least 5?… continuation of staying present while eating.
Life is not a perfect bubble you say? Sometimes it’s not possible to totally focus on just eating!! Ok, ok… I hear you. And you are right. My rule of thumb is this: whenever I can, I focus my attention solely on eating. Why should you? (…inquisitive minds need to know) Do you remember the “What’s in it for me?” question from yesterday? Here’s what you’ll get: more enjoyment from your food (provided that you chose something you really wanted in the first place), you’ll remember actually eating it, AND you’ll have a better chance to notice feeling full.
…But what happens when it seems impossible to relax and focus on my meal?
This was my focus for day 2. ‘can you name at least 5’. Sometimes when I feel it’s impossible to totally focus on eating I challenge myself to notice at least 5 things. I think about the color, texture, temperature, seasoning etc. My lunchtime salad had lots of crunch (1). The colors were bright (2) and consisted of red, green, orange and white. The dressing had a little bit of spice (3) due to the pepper and was creamy(4). My steak and broccoli that accompanied my salad was warm (5) and fulfilling. The crunchy broccoli (6) contrasted with the soft rice noodles (7).
What’s in it for me? Going through this mental exercise enables me to check in with myself, even if only for a moment. Pulling my attention back to my meal gives me a fighting chance to stay present and enables me to remember why it’s important to do so. There’s nothing worse than looking down at an empty plate and having no recollection of eating any of it. Talk about not being satisfied!!
I hope you find this exercise helpful … feel free to share your thoughts 🙂
Welcome 2013! With the dawning of a new year, attention usually gets focused on ‘new beginnings’ and I am no different. This morning I thought about how I could reinforce my Intuitive Eating principles and lose some of the bad habits that have re-emerged over the last few weeks.
I usually approach any task by breaking it down into smaller, more specific chunks. That’s when the one-a-day promise occurred to me. I thought about making a daily promise to myself to put an extra effort towards ‘something‘. Not very specific you say… and you are right. But goals change. As long as I do ‘something’ that is important to me, I will be keeping my promise.
Currently, I want to focus on Intuitive Eating. A few days ago, on my Intuitive Eating Support Facebook page, I posted a poll asking my readers what they thought their biggest challenges with the process have been. (If you would like to add your two cents to this poll, click here) I have also taught several workshops on Intuitive Eating and have found that staying present while eating is a pretty consistent challenge for many of us. That’s why I decided to start my journey here.
Having a sense of accountability is also paramount for me to stay ‘on track’. This is the purpose of this post. When my journey relates specifically to Intuitive Eating I will publish it. Hopefully my experiences will be a source of inspiration and support for you and keep me focused on my promise to myself.
Day 1: Staying present while eating
If you have ever tried this, you are well aware it is not as easy as it sounds. Eating my breakfast this morning, I found my mind wandering towards writing this post!! In order to truly enjoy AND remember eating my food, I had to clear my thoughts and focus my attention entirely on my meal. When I did this, I became aware of something interesting. After I had eaten about 3/4 of my food, I felt physically warmer. While this may seem strange to you, I have noticed this before. It’s almost as if my internal thermostat turned on. Usually, this is a sign that I am getting full. I ate 2-3 more spoonfuls and decided I had had enough.
Day 1, What’s in it for me?
“What’s in it for me?” Do you ever ask yourself this question when you have something you need to do? I try to ask it often. My Grandmother told me once, “Where there is a will, there is a way”. If I am aware of what I will get out of something, I am more inclined to do it. So part of my journal is going to be answering this question.
What’s in it for me? Staying present enabled me to enjoy my food. It also helped me to notice when I was getting full. (In my personal experience as well as a workshop facilitator, I have found that feeling fullness can be another challenging task)
Day one done. Simple enough. What about you? Would you like to join my campaign and start your own journal? If not, feel free to follow me and offer your comments and thoughts.
To be continued…
Return to the top